NANFA-- Educational outing

Nicholas J. Zarlinga (
Sat, 7 Apr 2001 13:09:35 -0400

Hello all! I thought that the group might be interested in hearing about
an outing put on by fellow NANFAist Rob "Ha!" Carillio. Saturday was the
big day that the Geauga Park District, a beautiful park system about 40
miles east of Cleveland, advertised a "get wet" program with the one and
only Rob. Scheduled to start at 1pm, it was designed for all interested to
come and watch a couple of videos and then get wet in the stream. The
first part of the program was watching three videos on pearly mussels,
crayfish, and native fish. Apparently, someone must have advertised in the
local little tiger's club because we were inundated with littlun's. To
their credit, however, they were very good during the hour and a half of
video watching and only got restless towards the very end. Then, after a
speech as only Rob can do about saving our wild riparian zones and the
benefits of NANFA, we were off to Big Creek, a small tributary of the
scenic Chagrin River. After all the kids donned their boots and hand nets,
we were off. It was a picture perfect day with the sun out and temps in
the mid 60's-very comfortable for an outing. At the edge of the river Rob
and the Phoebe (the naturalist) tried to impress upon the kids and parents
to be responsible in the streams and the importance of stewardship of the
natural environment. Since it was a small creek, we wanted to responsibly
observe the wildlife in the stream so we took a few kids at a time to help
with the seining. Only at the largest point of the stream did we get the
large seine out and had all the kids line up up stream to do the new dance
called the NANFA twist. They had a blast. The kids (and parents) were
enamoured with the diversity that we found in the stream. We found
helegremites, dragonfly nymphs, and crayfish-even a female with eggs! As
far as fish, we did not get too nitty gritty. We described the unique
evolutionary adaptations of some of the stream fishes we found- the pointed
nose of the darters (greensided and rainbows) which was just like the nose
of an airplane for hydrodymics, the bumpy head of breeding minnows (common
shiner, stonerollers, and creekchubs) to move gravel for breeding nests,
and the silvery flash of the spotfin shiner which when in schools, confuses
predators. (Most impressive to Rob and I were the breeding commons
shiners!) All in all it made for a good outing and hopefully instilled
admiration for the typical backyard stream in some very young minds.

Nick Zarlinga
Aquarium Biologist
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
216-661-6500 ex 4485

"Fish worship... is it wrong??" (Ray Troll)

/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,